National Institute on Aging

The Racial Gap in Access to Mathematics and Sciences Courses

New data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights shows that African Americans have less access to mathematics and sciences classes in middle school and high school than their White counterparts.

Here are some of the findings in the report:

* The study found that in the 2015-16 school year, Blacks made up 17 percent of all enrollments in the eighth grade. But Blacks were only 11 percent of all eighth graders enrolled in algebra and only 9 percent of those who passed algebra.

* Only 65 percent of Black eighth graders who were enrolled in algebra received a passing grade compare to 85 percent of White who took algebra while in eighth grade.

* During the 2015-16 school years, African Americans were 16 percent of the total enrollments in the nation’s high schools. But they were only 8 percent of the students who took calculus.

* Blacks were 14 percent of all high school students who took chemistry and 12 percent of all students who took physics.

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